Gauteng health boss facing tough action
‘We are co-operating with SIU, who are probing our officials’
GAUTENG Health Department head Barney Selebano will be hauled before a disciplinary hearing after he lost his appeal against the findings of the Health Ombudsman’s Esidimeni report.
This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, while responding to questions from the DA’s Jack Bloom in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature yesterday.
Ramokgopa said her office had welcomed the decision of the independent ad hoc tribunal headed by retired Judge President of the Gauteng High Court, Bernard Ngoepe, to dismiss Selebano’s appeal.
She said the province would, through the office of the provincial director-general Phindile Baleni, institute disciplinary action against Selebano. Ramokgopa also said that a similar process would be undertaken against Dr Makgabo Manamela, who also lost her appeal.
Health Ombud Professor Malegapuru Makgoba also welcomed the dismissal of the appeal. In his findings, Makgoba ordered that “disciplinary hearings must be called against the head of department Dr Tiego Ephraim Selebano and director for mental health directorate Dr Makgabo Manamela for gross misconduct and/ or incompetence.
“The findings against these two doctors must be reported to their respective professional bodies for the appropriate remedial action to be taken,” Makgoba ruled.
Yesterday, Ramokgopa said they would institute the disciplinary proceedings soon.
She confirmed that one of the chief directors, M Pitsi, who was also implicated in the report, has since won his appeal against the Health Ombudsman’s findings and as a result no disciplinary action would be brought against him.
Bloom wanted to know why one of the senior officials, Levi Mosenogi, was not charged and in her reply Ramokgopa said: “Levi Mosenogi, head of project planning, was not mentioned as one of the officials to be investigated. He was a project manager during the first phase of the transfer but that role was taken by someone else.”
However, she said that officials would study Mosenogi’s testimony during the Esidimeni hearings headed by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and make a decision on whether to charge him or not.
Ramokgopa was reacting to Bloom’s statement that Mosenogi implicated himself during his testimony before Judge Moseneke.
She also indicated that other officials were found guilty during their internal disciplinary hearings and most of them were given written warnings.
Ramokgopa said they also reported them to their respective professional bodies, such as the Nursing Council.
In the legislature, Bloom cried foul over the final written warnings but Ramokgopa allayed the fears, saying the professional bodies could review their decision.
Ramokgopa was adamant that they wanted the families of the patients who were transferred from Esidimeni to illegal homes to get justice.
“We are co-operating fully with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), who are probing our officials for conflict of interest. We are also co-operating with the police and the National Prosecuting Authority. We will help the families find justice. It must never happen again,” Ramokgopa said.
Reacting after the dismissal of Selebano and Manamela’s appeals, Bloom said: “All officials in the Esidimeni disaster should be disciplined, not only those specifically mentioned in the Ombudsman’s report.”
MORTIFIED: An emotional family member at the arbitration hearings between the State and the families of victims in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.